A study has shown that small gardens are just as important for pollinators in UK cities as large ones.
The bee population is declining worldwide. Climate change, pesticide and habitat destruction have all contributed to the decline of some pollinators. However, researchers have found that small urban gardens can be very beneficial for pollinators.
The study was published in Published in the Journal of Applied EcologyResearchers found that the size and amount of nectar produced in Bristol was not directly related to the size and extent of the gardens.
Nicholas Tew, a PhD student from the University of Bristol, said that the majority of nectar produced in gardens is produced by shrubs in the corners or along the edges of the garden. There are both very flower-rich small gardens as well as very flower-poor large gardens.
Studies in the past have shown that allotments and gardens are important sources for nectar, the sugar-rich energy source that pollinators require. However, only 1% of cities have allotments and 85% of nectar in cities comes from gardens.
Researchers at the University of Bristol measured nectar supply of 59 gardens every month from March through October to track differences in how much food plants produce for pollinators and when nectar production peak.
Shrubs were the flowers that produced the most nectar. These plants are densely packed with flowers, making them great resources for nectar that can be used in smaller spaces, Tew explained.
He said that the common daisy was another good plant for pollinators. Because of their open shape, they are easier to access by pollinators with shorter tongues.
Researchers found that the diversity of plants in urban areas provided pollinators with a stable supply throughout the year.
Tew explained that urban areas have a remarkable diversity, which is much higher than natural habitats and even nature reserves.
It is unlikely that two gardens have the same species of plants. Together, gardens create richer nectar resources.